(By email) An open letter to:
D. Bruce Means, PhD
President and Executive Director
COASTAL PLAINS INSTITUTE
AND LAND CONSERVANCY
1313 Milton Street, Tallahassee, Fl 32303 USA
Dear Dr. Means:
First, let me say I am impressed with your dedication to your cause, and I am also posting this letter to my online blog:
I am an Alaskan from the SE Alaska panhandle (Juneau). My wife and I are wintering in Carrabelle, Florida this year. I was appalled after driving up route 65 through a part of the Apalachicola National Forest to discover what you can see from the highway is really nothing more than a huge tree farm. I was too sickened by what I saw to drive down any of the feeder roads going into the forest. Imagine then my feelings when I observed the huge Georgia-Pacific chip mill at Hosford, Florida (photo below).
I did a little research online after returning to our condo and was further appalled to learn a full whopping 1% of this forest has been reserved as old growth! One full percent! Imagine that. From a cursory examination of the information quickly available online it appears most of this forest is dedicated for timber production, and that for the benefit of the Georgia-Pacific Corporation, a rank EPA offender of the first magnitude. GP is also ranked as the 15th largest air pollution producer in the United States and is currently being sued for civil rights violations.
I am personally very offended our national forests all over out country, are being virtually given over to the sole interests of the timber interests, all other uses for the publicly owned forests relegated to decidedly less importance. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad, except I can also see all the acres of sub-standard housing used by employees of the big timber interests, who themselves are virtual serfs to the companies.
So much for the USFS mandate to manage the forests for multiple interests! The only multiple of any real importance apparently being the number of dollars timber interests are contributing to politicians to curry their legislative, and other favors.
I am a veteran of years of advocacy for protections of the 17 million acre Tongass National Forest in Alaska, also under severe and continuous attack for many years by pulp companies, and logging operators who ship most of their 'product' in the round overseas to Japan and Korea for any value-added processing. A real travesty, especially when one considers our national policy of destroying public assets also costs the American taxpayer over 40 million dollars per year on the Tongass alone.
Our political leaders are obviously in the pockets of the special interests, especially those of the current administration. But, I am convinced if the American public were truly made aware of the economics connected with donating our publicly owned assets to special interests, most of us would rise up in righteous indignation and chase the perpetrators out of office. Especially so after our public learns the true extent we ourselves are paying to have our forests destroyed at our own expense.
Even a so-called 'conservative' right-wing 'business oriented' ideologue can see the idiocy of such a policy!